Friday, February 17, 2017

What's your subscription?

What is your lifestyle?
Life is full of colors, themes, struggles, options, paths and outcomes. As a human being, we have so many needs and we have options for each. We need to eat, dress, have a shelter or residence, interact, learn and explore, have purpose, define our direction, exist in harmony, have individual identity etc. We have many roles to fill, many expectations to meet, many choices to make on a daily basis. It is not all hard since we are designed to accomplish all this at some point in our lives. But, most of us struggle; we struggle mentally, ethically, physically to meet the challenge because there is conflict. There is conflict between choices and decision, desires and potentials, and our greed to maximize our benefit with every decision we make and our potentials. Everyone wants to outsmart life, to maximize their profits and minimize their efforts and sufferings. Era of social media has been having contradicting influence on the outcome of our decisions. As much as social media has contributed to flattening of the world and transparency of human behavior across the world, it has also brought superficial values and mental chaos in our personal lives. During Vietnam war, college students on the front line of demonstrations and resistance. Their current counterparts are more concerned with their social media status and creating impressions of success online than their real life contributions.
Coming back to chaos in personal life, we want to make the most delicious lamb chop and be a vegetarian (because it is healthy and ethical), we want to support a social cause and dress up in high end fashion and hang out with friends frequently. We want to work less, earn more, spend extravagantly now and save lavishly for retirement. And you have many non credible sources telling you that "you can have it all".
Unrealistic and conflicting desires are the root of the chaos in our lives. Many people suffer from self imposed and contradictory expectations and don't even realize it. They practice stress release activities and wonder why does stress continue to disrupt their lives. They wonder why they haven't accomplished peace of mind despite "having it all".
Then there are people who have already given up on life because they think in terms of "all or none".
I have been in both categories at one or another time in my life and I was tired of it. My habits of self reflections and thriving to improve my life helped me reach a solution. I realized my life philosophies were whether incomplete or contradictory. I wanted to have a peaceful space but also extensively stylish and decorated. I wanted to enact every bucket list I came across on Pinterest, own all the gadgets on amazon.com, be a fashion instagramer, an avid reader, a successful writer, a social activist and my daughter's role model. I wanted to be five different people at the same time and I didn't know why I was so stressed. I was expecting myself to figure out life by the time I was in my 30s. It wasn't supposed to be so hard, right?
At some point in my life, I give up running the invisible race. I don't know how it happened, since I didn't encounter a life changing experience. Gradually, I let go of my expectation to be perfect, to be the best at everything I do etc. I gave up my expectation to go to the gym ( I have a gym membership for 6 months now and I have only been there 6 times), to keep my closet filled with colorful and stylish clothes, to keep a spotless clean house ( I continually failed at it anyways), to decorate my space modernly and keep up with social media.
I went to basics. Forget weight loss, as long as I am pain free. No need for fancy food recipes (sorry Rachel Ray). Goodbye social media challenges and hello Minimalism. I wrote my own list of self care activities and put "reading" at the top of the list. I cut off any complicated societal, religious and cultural ties and re-defined my life purpose. I am focused on kindness and forgiveness regardless of return behavior of people. I dress for comfort with pride, exercise to energize and avoid pain, eat to enjoy food, and listen to my favorite music even though it is not Adele and BeyoncĂ©.
Therefore, I have subscribed to a minimalistic and simplistic lifestyle and I am getting better at it everyday. Keeping my needs to basics, expectations simple and desires to minimum, I am getting back my peace of mind and ethical confidence. It is a conscious effort that I apply to all areas of my life. And did I mention I am happier now than ever before?



Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Returning home

I am scared to to return home. The home I have with my husband. I am afraid I will expect him to pick up after himself, I will expect him to share in the responsibilities of raising our daughter, and I am afraid that I will be disappointed. I will be mad in return, and then sad, angry, resentful and unhappy. I wonder if he sees me as a lazy wife. One that needs help despite not working. I wonder if he has expectations from me to be like his friends wives, or at least the Facebook version of them: adventurous, active, fit, great party hosts... i wonder if he is dreading my return to home.

I have to take it one day at a time, one hour at a time. The universe is telling me to be positive, to be in charge of my own happiness. I must remind myself of that. I must lower my expectations, way more! I must remind myself that nothing stays the same. That maybe this is the hard years. I must act the exact same way I want him to act. I must...I will love him despite his flaws, and his short comings. I will love him, period. After all isn't it what I expect from him?
I will remind myself of the times I couldn't wait to be with him and take that feeling and energy and will go sit next to him. I will forgive him for not helping me, for not seeing my exhaustion, my sacrifice, my heartache. I will be positive. I will be grateful. I will keep my anger in check. I will be the one to give and not ask for anything back, at least for now. I will be ok with an imperfect marriage and imperfect life partner. I will remind myself that I am stronger and wiser than to ruin the day by expressing my anger and dissatisfaction. I will watch my tone. I will be non-judgemental. I will be relaxed. I will take a minute to myself. I will do something personal for myself. I will Ignore the dust, the dirt, the flaws and find one thing positive to be grateful about. I will be a different person. I will keep anxiety at bay. I will keep negativity away. I will rejoice in the health of myself and my daughter. I will be patient. I will persevere! 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Perfection vs Connection

I am lucky that I am not a perfectionist, but I was attempting to be one inconsistently.
As a mother, I used to stress about being the perfect mother by focusing on minor daily mishaps. My on and off and often failed attempts at "fixing" every little aspect of my and my daughter's life was keeping me in a constant state of anxiety. In my career, I used to drain all my energy by giving 150% on the job and emotionally getting involved in my patients' issues. Then I came across this idea " connection vs perfection". It feels as if I found the missing link in my search for a more practical and peaceful life.
This idea shifted my perspective and relieved me from unnecessary stress and anxiety. Now I give 100% on the job. I am still compassionate and caring while acknowledging my limitations. My patients love me and I love helping them as much as possible. I have realized that connecting with my patients and establishing trusting relationship with them is more effective than trying to take over their care. I put them in charge of their care and assume the role of a well informed guide. Beyond my patients, I no longer bend over backwards for corporate America. This is a topic for a whole new discussion.
My parenting style is more relaxed and effective now. First of all, I realized my role is to assist, guide, nurture, strengthen, and equip my daughter. I am here to raise her for her own future and not my intended life for her. When focusing on connecting with her vs perfecting her, I allow her to become her own person. I no longer squeeze her into my perceived idea of who she should be. I am learning to see her point of view, allow her to express herself and explore the world with her. Instead of making the bed, I learn about her favorite book. Cooking can be a joint effort, regardless of how long it will take or how imperfect the dish will turn out. The only non academic activity for her is her Tea Kown Do. I give her the chance to interact in social gatherings at her own pace, regardless of being judged by others about not being strict with her. I have finally realized that her growing up is about her, not about me and certainly not about other people's expectations. I no longer strive for perfection in my life. It is about connection, connecting with yourself, your family, your friends. And to connect, you must let go of predetermined notions, idealistic expectations and perfection. As human beings, we are designed to be biased, unethical, imperfect, flawed and sometimes stubborn. Yet we will need love, connection and acceptance. How can you connect if you don't accept other's flaws and imperfections?